The Illinois National Guard was activated in Chicago on Wednesday at the heels of multiple protests regarding the charges in the death of Breonna Taylor by police.
Multiple National Guard vehicles could be seen Wednesday afternoon at Wabash Avenue and Roosevelt Road, just hours after a grand jury indicted one former police officer for shooting into neighboring apartments, but not in connection to Breonna Taylor’s death.
Protests were planned at Chicago police headquarters, St. Sabina church, Millennium Park and Palmer Square.
Illinois National Guard spokesman Bradford Leighton confirmed the units were “activated” in Chicago.
Some of the guard’s vehicle were in the streets for “survey” purposes, according to Office of Emergency Management and Communications spokeswoman Mary May.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office on Wednesday said the guard units were still in a “state of readiness” after being sent to Chicago Tuesday ahead of possible charges in Taylor’s death.
Meanwhile, Chicago took its own measures to prevent possible civil unrest. The city on Wednesday “strategically positioned” 300 city vehicles, including snow plows and other large trucks, to deter rioting at commercial corridors. The city has used a similar strategy during looting in May and August.
Wednesday afternoon, Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot acknowledged the sense of rage many Chicagoans felt following the decision but called for peace. “A grand jury in Louisville made a decision that doesn’t come close to capturing the injustice of what we know happened that night in March,” Pritzker said.
Lightfoot said there would be citywide moment of reflection at 7 p.m.
Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times March 13 by officers who entered her home using a no-knock warrant during a drug investigation. The warrant used was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.
Her death gained renewed attention in May in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, when protesters took to the streets in cities across the country, including Chicago, to protest police brutality against Black people. Her name, along with Floyd’s, figured largely in discussions about the issue over the summer.